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Maurice Abravanel (1903-1993) conducted the Utah Symphony for more than thirty years (1947-1979), transforming it from a community orchestra into a well-respected, professional ensemble. Before accepting the position in Utah to build his own symphony, Abravanel had established a remarkable career, including conducting the Berlin State, and Paris Operas. In 1936, he became the youngest contracted conductor in the history of New York's Metropolitan Opera. Later, after World War II, Abravanel turned down a contract and considerable salary with Radio City Music Hall to come to Utah.
Housed in the McKay Music Library, the Abravanel Studio reconstructs the study in Maurice Abravanel's home and contains his scores, books, personal memorabilia, photographs, and his Steinway piano.
During his tenure with the Utah Symphony, Abravanel was known particularly for his pioneering recordings of the complete symphonies of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). Scans of the maestro's notated scores of the nine Mahler symphonies will form the backbone of the Abravanel Studio digital collection as it continues to grow.